By Favour Nnabugwu
The Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) funded by UK Aid in collaboration with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Wednesday launched an initiative to improve Africa’s insurance industry.
The initiative is the Risk, Resilience and Regulatory Laboratory (R3Lab), launched in Lagos.
The Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, NAICOM, Mr Sunday Thomas, said that the R3Lab was set up to explore ways in which collaboration, technology and insurance supervisory capacity building can improve regulatory effectiveness of Africa’s insurance industry.
Thomas said that collaboration, technology and insurance supervisory were capable of mitigating the impact of specific challenges experienced in the regulatory environment .
” We are all aware of the evolving risks in the African economic space such as climate change, pandemics, digitalisation, inadequate understanding and lack of confidence in the insurance sector.
“Also, the need for new strategies to enhance the capabilities of African insurance supervisory authorities to effectively regulate and protect insurance policyholders.
“We are all aware of the evolving risks in the Africa economic space such as climate change, pandemics, digitalisation, inadequate understanding and lack of confidence in the insurance sector and the need for new strategies to enhance the capabilities of African insurance supervisory authorities to effectively regulate and protect insurance policyholders,” he said.
Thomas posited that the R3Lab offers a three-tiered approach towards creating an enabling regulatory environment and equipping the regulator with sound, proportionate and fit-for-purpose practices.
Risk, Resilience, and Regulation, he said are the key entry points for the R3Lab to build the technical capacity and skills of the regulator on innovation and sustainable insurance.
According to him, “The R3Lab will facilitate the design of customised capacity-building programs and set up peer to peer exchange platforms, comprehensive learning toolkits, a resource center for data collection and reporting and topical taskforces and forums for insurance supervisors in Africa.”
“I am pleased to confirm that this platform is the third joint-initiative that has been birthed through FSD Africa’s partnership with NAICOM.
“The first was FSD Africa’s ongoing support in the review of existing regulations including identifying and articulating the key steps, framework(s), and tools required by NAICOM for Risk-Based Capital (RBC).
“This will enable NAICOM fully implement a scalable RBC Framework in Nigeria as well as to help it develop an innovation framework for NAICOM to fulfill its dual objectives of market development and policyholders’ protection,” Thomas posited.
Thomas on behalf of the Management and staff of the National Insurance Commission, expressed sincere gratitude to FSD Africa for the invaluable support.
He expressed hope that through the commissioning of these projects and platforms, will create an enabling environment for the development of insurance products which address the day-to-day challenges experienced by Nigerians in the face of environmental related risks.
He maintained that availability of better products is likely to result in better service delivery and increase financial returns to investors, adding that in recognition of this, NAICOM aims to achieve greater public trust and confidence in the insurance sector through “Innovation, Distribution and Effective/Efficient Service Delivery” which has been the cornerstone of its strategic focus and actions
Also, t he Chief Executive Officer, FSD Africa, Mark Napier, stated at the launch of the Risk, Resilience and Regulatory Laboratory (R3Lab) initiative in Lagos, stressing that the firm believes healthy financial markets are the foundation of a fair and thriving economy.
He noted that the firm supports breakthrough ideas that will transform Africa’s financial markets, and deliver programmes where the potential for impact is greatest.
He maintained that Africa can unlock new pathways to prosperity and resilience, while helping the world realise the promise of the Paris Agreement and tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“We believe that a financial system that is acceptable, stable and transparent, can also help to create the condition for a fair and sustainable future,” he submitted.